CIMMYT Annual Report 2008-2009: Farming for our grandchildren's future - Maize and wheat agriculture and changing climates in developing countries

How can we do it? One idea is to substantially increase farmland, but that solution is problematic. Creating additional farmland would mean clear-cutting forests and jungles, damming more rivers, and escalating the pace of climate change. And that’s without considering the fact that climate change will already dramatically impact agriculture worldwide. Crops that currently thrive in some areas won’t do well in the future. There will be a need to find new places to farm and new crops to plant. Higher temperatures will produce new plant diseases and change growing seasons. Experts predict that crop production in some countries will decrease between 15-30% due to the affects of climate change. Water is also an issue. Agriculture already uses 85 percent of the water in developing countries. In short, we need to grow more food, on less land, with less water than ever before. There is no “silver bullet” solution to feed our planet’s growing population, but farmers like Felista Mateo are a good place to start. In 2008, the average maize farm in the United States produced about 9.8 tons per hectare. In Mexico it was 3.1 tons per hectare. In Africa, only 1.8 tons per hectare. Increasing the productivity of small-scale farmers in the developing world, especially South Asia and subSaharan Africa, can produce dramatic effects. We can...and Hunger is debilitating. A starving person is unable to fend off disease or to tend to children and fields. Minds and bodies are ravished by malnutrition. And it is difficult to imagine anything worse than to watch a starving child waste away, day by day, and be unable to do anything about it. We can do something about it. At CIMMYT, our focus is on small farmers in the developing world. Our staff of world-class researchers works to assure that even the poorest farmers have access to the information and technology that can produce dramatic agricultural gains. The Green Revolution didn’t reach everyone and the population explosion has meant that, worldwide, there are more rural poor than ever. Alleviating hunger is an enormous challenge. At CIMMYT we’ve seen the seeds of hope sprout over and over again. A small farmer, using improved technology and techniques, grows more wheat or maize. A family is transformed. Children become well-fed. Granaries are built. Surpluses are sold and workers are hired to help farm the land. The entirety of the family’s time is no longer spent scratching out a subsistence life and the children are able to attain a better education. Other farmers in the community become curious and they, too, learn how to produce more with less. Bit-by-bit the simple act of growing more food becomes a profound agent for change. This does not happen overnight. Although the aff ects can be dramatic, they do not come easily. They only come when groups of dedicated people work together for months, or years. However, it is important to note that these changes do happen. Every day. All around the world. Here at CIMMYT we feel privileged to have impact on the lives of so many people.

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Bibliographic Details
Other Authors: Yates, L.
Format: Annual Report biblioteca
Published: CIMMYT 2011
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